The Los Angeles Kings were outshot by a 31-14 margin in the first two periods of the game, and it was two second period goals by Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa that helped the Chicago Blackhawks take Game 1 by a score of 2-1.
Justin Williams scored the only goal for the Kings in the first period, and Jonathan Quick made 34 saves, but it wasn’t enough as the Kings dropped to 1-6 on the road in the postseason.
The game started out in a slow fashion for the Kings, similarly to the way the team started Game 4 of their series against the San Jose Sharks. In that contest, the Sharks outshot LA 15-3 in the first period, and the Hawks put up an even better total in this one, with a 17-2 shot differential.
Fortunately for the Kings, one of those two shots found the back of the net, as Justin Williams intercepted a Dave Bolland clearing attempt and fired the one-timer past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford to give the Kings a 1-0 lead as the first period concluded.
The second period saw more of the same offensive zone dominance by the Blackhawks, but the results were different, as the Hawks focused on getting more pressure to the front of the net to collect rebounds. Patrick Sharp opened the Chicago scoring attack in that period, pounding home a rebound off of a shot by Johnny Oduya.
The Hawks struck again late in the second as well, when Marian Hossa redirected a point shot from Duncan Keith to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. This sequence occurred despite an excellent play by Drew Doughty along the boards to break up the initial rush, and even Quick got into the action with a tremendous save, but the Kings weren’t able to clear the zone, and the Hawks capitalized on that mistake.
The third period started with the Kings getting more chances, but the Hawks still were able to play some good defense to prevent second chance opportunities in front of Crawford. Head coach Darryl Sutter helped out in that regard, sending out newly configured lines in an attempt to spark the team’s offense.
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Even still, the Kings weren’t able to capitalize on a power play they got when Dustin Brown was tripped up by Nick Leddy along the blue line. The play did prevent the Kings from getting a good scoring chance, but they couldn’t make the Blackhawks pay like they had so many times against the Sharks.
The end of the game also saw some bad news for the Kings, as Hawks forward Dave Bolland threw a huge hit on Kings forward Mike Richards. Richards skated off the ice gingerly after the play, and a penalty committed by Jeff Carter shortly after the hit sealed the Kings' fate.
Los Angeles will get a chance at redemption tomorrow night, however, as Game 2 will begin at approximately 5pm Pacific time.